Youth go hungry to feed others



Nearly 60 teenagers from four Hillsboro churches banded together last weekend to battle world hunger as part of a 30-hour famine.

Organizers said it was an ?eye-opening experience.?

Youth pastors from the Parkview, Ebenfeld and Hillsboro Mennonite Brethren churches and the Hillsboro United Methodist Church and 15 sponsors also took part in the activities, which started at 9 a.m. Friday.

Sacrifice was one of the lessons learned, said Brandon Voth, Ebenfeld youth pastor.

?We are trying to make sure the whole emphasis is upon kids in other countries,? he said. ?It isn?t about us, it is about others.?

Cord?Werth from Parkview said another significant part of the weekend was experiencing what it means to be hungry.

?We talked about statistics and how one child dies every 15 seconds because of hunger-related diseases,? Werth said.

In addition to fasting for 30 hours, the teenagers walked to their various activities.

?They have to walk to be able to identify what it is like for other people in this world,? said Werth, noting that the majority of people in the world don?t have a vehicle.

Steven VanDerHart, youth pastor at HUMC, said he believes a hunger activity like this one has never been done in Hillsboro before.

?At least not in the seven years I have been here,? he added.

One of the hardest parts during the weekend for VanDerHart was volunteering at the annual HUMC hog roast Friday evening.

?When I woke up Saturday, I wasn?t hungry, though, and nobody was complaining,? he said. ?We were all in good spirits.?

Voth said he agreed with VanDerHart that this activity was new and also ?a bit familiar.?

?All the kids knew about the World Vision organization,? he said, ?and they were excited about it, jumping at the chance (to participate).?



Fundraising efforts

A Saturday car wash was the group?s main fundraising source, reaching its goal of raising $2,000, VanDerHart said.

He said Monday that the event raised more than $1,600, and youth group sponsors pushed it over the top. The final total was not available at press time.

VanDerHart said about 100 vehicles were washed during the three-hour wash on the HUMC parking lot.

Within 30 minutes, the youth had hand-washed 20 cars; 90 minutes in, they were approaching 70 vehicles, he said.

?The cost was whatever someone could donate from their heart,? VanDerHart said.

Another way the youth groups raised money was to ask for contributions.

The money raised will be sent to World Vision for dispersement in the Horn of Africa for such things as food and necessities.

The 30 hours

Each of the four churches assisted in various activities.

Voth said the group started at Parkview Friday morning with team building, playing games and learning more about the event.

?We broke in the afternoon for practices and drama,? he said. ?On Saturday, we had devotional time, cleaned up at Parkview and walked to UMC for the car wash.?

Following the car wash, the group headed to Hillsboro MB.

?We will be sharing some music and talking among smaller groups about how the fast went, what they felt, how it impacted them, what they were thinking about this and learning,? Voth said.

A ?break the fast? with communion and meal was at 3 p.m., he said, and then the activity ended.


All three pastors hoped the 30-hour famine helped raise awareness about the problem of worldwide hunger.

For VanDerHart, the 30-hour famine wasn?t so much about hunger, but about redistribution.

Voth talked about being grateful, and being mindful of what is happening in distant locales.

?I hope this opened the kids? eyes and they will become aware of something bigger than Hills?boro and America,? Voth said.

?A lot of the world is hurting and we have no idea,? he said. ?If (the youth) can see past that, it is a real blessing. Personally, I hope the kids are able to do that.?

Werth said it was about spreading the word.

?We are trying to raise awareness and do what we can to feed as many kids as we can,? he said.

About World Vision

World Vision is a Christian humanitarian organization helping children, families and communities worldwide by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice, according to information about the non-profit group.

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